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Going To The Dogs

Christ Episcopal Church

holds blessing of the animals

Garden City’s Christ Church recently welcomed a variety of new additions to the choir at the annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony last month. Members of the church along with local residents of Long Island were encouraged to bring their beloved animal be they dog, cat, bird, a photo of a deceased pet, or stuffed animal to be formally blessed.

From bulldogs to pit bulls, chihuahuas  and hermit crabs, the Episcopal Church was alive with excitement. Up to 30 residents from Garden City as well as neighboring New Hyde Park and other surrounding villages attended the mass with pets in tow, a reflection of the faith and passion for animals that can be found in the church community.

This year, the 10 a.m. mass conducted by Reverend Canon John McGinty was certainly unique. Due to poor weather conditions, pet lovers were permitted to enter the church for the very first time, sitting side by side in the pews with their animal companions.

Following Rev. McGinty’s sermon, the congregation recognized their thanks to God for all creatures on the Earth. Attendees were welcome one by one to bring their pet to the alter while a blessing and prayer was said in their honor.

The Blessing of the Animals was initially inspired by the actions and philosophies of  St. Francis of Assisi, best known for his kindness and passion for all God’s creatures and his deep appreciation for nature.

“I think it’s great,” says Eucharistic Minister and Alter Server Lyn Gilbert of Elmont. “It’s a great chance for the community to come together over a common bond of their love for animals”

This was the church’s third year holding this event, with high hopes they will be able to continue to have more ceremonies like this throughout the year.